- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2010


Refute+repudiate=word-of-the year. Sarah Palin’s oft lampooned mingling of the two terms has been named the “2010 Word of the Year” by the New Oxford American Dictionary - besting such rivals as “tea party”, “retweet” and “vuvuzela”. The scholars note: “From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used ‘refudiate,’ we have concluded that neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject’.”


What with all that press chatter about “naked scanners”, “groin checks” and “government gropers” in the nation’s airports, a skittish American public must parse the line between security and privacy in age of terrorism and political correctness. Though Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman plans a hearing on air-cargo security Tuesday, observers say the Connecticut Independent likely will broach the truly touchy passenger side of things as well.

But wait. Coming soon to an airport near you, it’s National Opt Out of the Airport Scanners Day. The Philadelphia-based grassroots group We Won’t Fly is organizing “mass x-ray scanner opt outs” at the nation’s airports on November 24 to draw attention to reported health and privacy dangers of the Transportation Security Administration’s advanced, full body scanners. Yes, the boycott is scheduled the day before Thansgiving.

“Not only are these porno scanners a gross violation of individual privacy, they’re also a threat to the health of millions of passengers, and ineffective as well. The goal of the demonstrations is to urge Americans to exercise their legal right to ‘opt out’ of the scan,” says the group’s co-founder George Donnelly.

The TSA insists all is well, though. The scanners have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. TSA director Janet Napolitano - frequently catagorized as “Big Sis” on the Drudge Report - said Monday that the agency is “doing what we need to do to protect the traveling public.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Airline Pilots Assoc., the Allied Pilots Association, Ralph Nader and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have mounted protests against the security practices, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has issued its own travel advisory over “invasive and humiliating” pat downs. The group is advising Muslim women in headscarf and traditional modest dress to “remind TSA officers that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They should not subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.”


Yeah, well, maybe beleagured Mel Gibson didn’t get to make a modest film comeback with a cameo appearance on “The Hangover II”. But former President Bill Clinton? He was in Bangkok just 48 hours ago, on the set of the party hearty sequel to the buddy movie “The Hangover”, dressed in light blue golf shirt and khaki pants, his thespian aspirations intact, apparently.

“Bubba was spotted on the set in Thailand where we’re told extra security was added for his presence,” says TMZ, the video gossip group that first reported the phenomenon. “Although some people associated with the flick have told us Bill just ‘hung out,’ we’ve now confirmed he did indeed shoot a cameo.”

Mr. Clinton was in Bangkok to attend a clean energy convention. He will, uh, “play himself” in the film.


Behold, some lame duck headlines. Here’s how Congress’ big adventures with earmarks, tax cuts and reshuffling the political deck played in the press on Day One:

“Obama is in danger of becoming a lame duck” (The Daily Telegraph)

“Obama: Better off as a lame duck” (USA Today)

“The Return of the old Republican guard” (The Atlantic)

“New guard Democrats eye changes in Senate” (Washington Post)

“Expect big talk but little action” (Houston Chronicle)

“Waddling towards oblivion” (BBC News)


A respectable 5 million people tuned in to see the premiere of TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on Sunday according to Neilsen, making it the top programming debut in the cable network’s history. Analysts are tallying what influence this might have on her future presidenital plans as a normalizing trend begins: Mrs. Palin is no longer just a “tea party” goddess.

“You’d think former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be too divisive a figure to attract mainstream advertisers,” proclaims Advertising Age analyst Brian Steinberg. “Would you be incorrect? You betcha.”

Indeed, the Palin brand has support from big name, mainstream advertisers. Among those who lined up to support the new reality show: Progressive Insurance, Lowe’s, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Procter & Gamble’s Febreze, Sun Products Corp.’s Wisk, T-Mobile, LG Electronics, Hallmark Cards, Blue Buffalo pet food and 20th Century Fox films.


- 52 percent of Americans say it is “good for the country” that the Republican party controls the U.S. House.

- 15 percent say the new Congress will be “more corrupt” then the previouss Congress, 25 percent say it will be “less corrupt.”

- 59 percent say there will be no difference.

- 44 percent of Americans say Republican victories in the House were due to “voter disapproval of President Obama”.

- 35 percent say the victory was due to “voter opposition to Democrats”.

- 14 percent say it is due to “support for Republicans.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1.014 adults conducted Nov. 11-14.

- Rejections, repudiations, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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